RK&K believes the future of engineering relies in sharing the importance of STEM/STEAM concepts to the next generation of the industry and nurturing their interest with our team’s expertise.
“STEAM and outreach events are critical to introducing new opportunities to young minds,” said Engineer Danielle Schwanke. “If a young mind thinks the only direction is north, it may take a new compass to show them south! As the older generation, it is our responsibility to inspire change and opportunity in young minds.”
Danielle served as that compass for more than 300 girls in the Atlanta, GA, area who learned more about engineering through fun projects and activities as part of a recent “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” event held by American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia.
RK&K was proud to help sponsor the event and our team members crafted a fun atmosphere for young women to build balloon bottle cars and galvanic cells, while helping them learn more about the science behind what made the cars go.
“It’s so rewarding to watch the facial expressions of young girls, who may be intimidated by STEM tasks, change as they figure out the activity all on their own,” she said.
In Virginia Beach, several RK&K employees worked with the Boys and Girls Club, where they led a group of thirty 10-though-12-year-olds through two STEM activities, an egg drop challenge and make your own slime project.
“I think opportunities to learn STEAM/STEM concepts through interactive activities allows kids to visualize and apply concepts rather than learning through a textbook, which could benefit those who have a more visual and kinesthetic learning styles. It allows kids to learn how STEAM/STEM concepts can be applied to real-life situations,” said Engineer Dani Sciulli.
“It was great seeing the kids get excited about STEM activities! It’s very important to inspire the younger generation and hopefully this event sparked their curiosity. Kids are the future,” added Engineer Josh Williams.
These events make engineering concepts and their importance accessible to all-ages and gives those interested more information about how to pursue relevant careers in these fields.
Project Manager Rhiannon Dodge, PE, PACP, MACP, LACP also recently participated in several STEM/STEAM events in both Maryland and West Virginia.
At the Mineral County STEM Festival at West Virginia University Potomac State College, she was hands-on, teaching the attendees about civil engineering, water, and wastewater work through a “How Water Works” display that showcased how water is collected, stored, processed, discharged. Participants even got the chance to drive Edge AI Inc.‘s Pipe Dream sewer camera to learn how our team inspects lines underground.
At the first Annual STEM Like a Girl event coordinated by Rocky Gap State Park and Allegany High School, Rhiannon and other engineers celebrated Women’s History Month and some of the amazing women who have made their marks on the STEM field by passing their knowledge to the youth and showing that they could also make a difference.
“Role models are crucial for encouraging future generations to enter the engineering field,” Rhiannon said. “I had a couple of teachers who really supported me and encouraged me to go into engineering in college. They had such a huge impact on the course of my career, and I still talk to them today.”